I was very pleased to see such beautiful pictures of the newly designed and refurbished Peppermint Park in the paper on June 10. However, some of the text accompanying the photos was incorrect (and was corrected the next day).

To re-emphasize the facts, Peppermint Park is located in East Bayside — not on Munjoy Hill — and it is the East Bayside Neighborhood Organization that has worked so diligently alongside the city of Portland to make improvements to the park.

When EBNO was formed in 2007, Peppermint Park became a regular topic of discussion at our monthly meetings, as residents repeatedly identified it as a central location for criminal activity and disturbances in the neighborhood.

EBNO founding member and first president, Chris Wright, quickly responded to these concerns by enlisting the help of Portland Parks and Recreation staff in applying for and securing Community Development Block Grant funding to redesign the outdated, rundown park.

During the planning process, which included city staff and East Bayside residents, EBNO also employed the expertise of officers from the Portland Police Department, who evaluated the new design to ensure it adhered to the principles of “Crime Prevention through Environmental Design.”

The whole process was overseen by landscape architect extraordinaire Regina Leonard, who listened intently to residents’ ideas and concerns and created a beautiful design for the space with an emphasis on natural materials.

EBNO is incredibly pleased with the result of this process, which began in the fall of 2007. The park should open in the next week or so with some additional work (such as plantings and sidewalk reconstruction) to be completed in the next month.

We hope people will journey into East Bayside this summer to take a look at one of our newest gems.

Belinda Ray

Community Organizer

East Bayside Neighborhood Organization

Portland

Concerned citizens gather Saturday at two Maine sites

In his June 8 column (“Our democracy could use a little help on the tough issues”), Ron Bancroft makes a plea for citizens to inform themselves about the many complex issues this country faces, particularly our current fiscal challenges, and to participate in constructive dialogue in search of solutions.

He mentions that an organization, AmericaSpeaks, is hosting such a dialogue on June 26 in Augusta.

I would like readers to know more about AmericaSpeaks, the June 26 event and another opportunity to participate in this important dialogue.

AmericaSpeaks is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to enabling citizens to have a voice on the most significant issues that impact their lives.

It has created forums for citizen participation on complex and often divisive issues, both regionally and nationally, and has provided citizen input to federal level decision-makers. To learn more about AmericaSpeaks, visit www.americaspeaks.org.

On June 26, meetings will take place in more than 20 major cities and several smaller locations around the country to address issues related to “Our Budget, Our Economy.”

All meetings will include a live webcast with information provided by national figures and experts and will direct participants to engage in dialogue on specific questions.

Their input will be gathered and delivered to local and national legislators as well as to the Bowles-Simpson Committee (the National Commission on Deficit Reduction referred to by Mr. Bancroft).

In addition to the meeting being held in Augusta, a smaller meeting will be held at the Scarborough Town Hall. All meetings will begin at 11:30 a.m. The larger meetings will last until 5:30 p.m., the smaller ones will wrap up at 2:30 p.m. Space will be quite limited for the Scarborough meeting. We hope to include a diverse cross-section of the local population.

To learn more about this nationwide discussion, you can visit this website: www.USABudgetDiscussion.org.

This project is made possible by a group of private foundations, including the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, W.K Kellogg Foundation and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Dana Morris-Jones

The Delphi Group, Inc.

Scarborough

Don’t allow any providers to refuse Medicaid patients

I am glad to hear that the Maine Medical Association does not believe that doctors will refuse to see Medicare patients because Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins have again turned their backs on Maine’s older population (“Snowe, Collins pressured on Medicare rate cut,” June 4).

However, why should doctors and dentists ever be allowed to refuse such patients? Here in Maine we have had instances where dentists refuse to treat Medicaid patients.

Doctors and dentists should not be allowed to cherry-pick the federal programs they like and ignore those that they don’t like. Consider this: Interest rates paid on loans to medical schools are most often paid for by the government. (And taxpayers are medical patients.)

Furthermore, Section 179 of our tax code allows doctors and dentists to write off as much as $250,000 on office equipment purchases along with the current $75,000 stimulus. These federal tax breaks and incentives are often matched by state, county and municipal tax structures.

In other words, those Medicare patients fund those tax breaks and incentives, and the Medicaid (Maine- Care) patients do or will as well. I believe no one should be allowed to have it both ways.

That is why doctors and dentists should not be allowed to cherry-pick the federal programs they like and ignore those that they don’t like.

Do you ever wonder how we Americans find ourselves being put into such ridiculously obvious predicaments?

Robert L. Piccone

Portland

Direct ban on cell phones, texting needed on roads

How many more accidents and fatalities must occur before cell phones, texting and other ways of communicating electronically are banned while people are driving?

Some states have already implemented fines. Some local utilities have banned texting while driving.

The time has come for the state of Maine to pass legislation (more focused than current “distracted driving” laws) to help save lives.

Ed Reagan

Portland